‘Yellowstone’: Piper Perabo On Her Character’s Fight With Beth, And Her Attraction To John Dutton

It’s hard to miss Piper Perabo on Yellowstone these days: she’s the dirty blonde with the black eye who had a knock-down-drag-out fight with the irascible Beth Dutton. Here, the actress who also stars on Showtime’s Billions talks about her epic brawl with Kelly Reilly, and why her character, Summer Higgins, has managed to find common ground with the “hot” John Dutton (Kevin Costner).

DEADLINE We have to start with your epic fist fight. At the risk of projecting, you kind of had it coming. How rude of Summer to talk about meat that way at the Dutton dinner table!

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PIPER PERABO My boyfriend invited me dinner and he said he had his own cook. He didn’t have to make it himself. He could have made what I liked!

DEADLINE That is true. Okay, so the fight. Is that something that you two spent a lot of time choreographing?

We worked on it for a long time because Taylor Sheridan wanted it big. Then Kelly and I rehearsed because we knew it would take at least two nights to shoot and as it got colder and colder, I was like, ‘let’s shoot this sucker because I end up on my back on the ground a lot!’ I didn’t wanna be on the cold ground anymore that I had to, but it was so fun and Kelly and I had such a good time doing that scene. We really had a blast. 

Obviously Summer is on a journey to appreciate what the Duttons have accomplished. Is she there yet? Is she totally transformed? 

I don’t think so. I was thinking about this a lot because other people have said something to me about it. I don’t think Summer is changing. I think her perspective is broadening. It’s not that she’s letting go of her old beliefs, but her vision of the world is expanding because of the Dutton Ranch. She says it to John in that speech. She judged the whole thing too soon, too early and in an unkindly way and with not enough experience and knowledge. And as I spend more time on the ranch, I really am beginning to understand a lot more about it. That’s really a fun thing to play. 

I really appreciate how Summer is not glamorized. There’s no need for her to cover her face in cosmetics.

I think it speaks to who she. Also, she’s coming out of being in prison for 11 months and living in a rural and a little bit lonely existence. Like when John’s not there, Summer doesn’t really have anyone. She’s really trying to maintain her sense of self. I also am doing Billions [she plays Andy Salter, the estranged wife of Corey Stoll’s Mike Prince], which is obviously very urban, very beautiful, a very polished world. It’s so cool that I can do Billions and be polished and then do Yellowstone and be much more natural, rugged, and regular looking. I like the contrast a lot. 

Was there a spark between Summer and John last season?

Yeah, the spark was there. At the very beginning, I don’t really get what what he wants to talk to me it. He pays my bail the first time I get arrested and he says like, ‘let me show you the ranch.’ And I don’t really understand why he’s doing this, but he is kind of hot and it seems safe, but do I do it? When he first shows me the ranch last season, I kind of fall for him. We see the same in each other. Although Summer and John come from really different worlds at a fundamental level, they both believe in fighting for what they believe in. They believe in loyalty. They believe in conservation of the land. And so it’s like two fighters meeting and appreciating each other and he just happens to also be really hot. Taylor Sheridan is such a troublemaker. Of course the first public kiss is with Beth sitting less than 10 feet from us.

So do you see a future for Summer and John?

Yes. I do.

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